One of my “low-intensity” projects is the exploration of portuguese open-data, mostly governmental data.
I’ve written some things about it (in portuguese) and also developed some (very few) applications but have never done anything really interesting, mostly because of the lack of time.
Fortunately this year I came across a some interesting folks who also share this interest in exploring portuguese open-data.
During the Barcamp where i did my presentation “Apps for Portugal: Exploring Public Data” I met Cláudia Amorim and Victor Cardoso and a couple of days later I found out about this Transparencia Hackday initiative that was to be held on Hacklaviva (a hackerspace here in Oporto that I had already heard of but never had visited before) where i met Ricardo Lafuente, Ana Carvalho, Sara Moreira and Tiago Assis.
It was really great to get to know people with shared interest in this field and able to build stuff with it.
So I started exploring the site parlamento.pt. This is site of the portuguese legislative body and it has a bunch of information on the members of parliament like biographical information and also information on what they are doing.
The problem with this site is that it’s built like a repository, it has lots of stuff but you can’t easily answer simple questions like what is being said about problems that affect my community / region.
I don’t really think that they are trying to hide this information it’s just that this wasn’t a use case they had in mind when developing the site.
Unfortunately they don’t have a public dataset of this information so i had to start with the boring part of scraping… (to be continued)